Saturday, 24 February 2018

How the 90 Day Challenge is Going

So there I was thinking I'd be blogging every day of the 90 day challenge. Life took over. The 90 day challenge itself has been eclipsed: a colleague is doing a whole year. Could I do a year? I'm not sure.
I bought a dress today in Brown Thomas. It's for an upcoming event I can't talk about here. It was expensive by my standards (although there was a nice 25% off) and I did feel extravagant. I popped into Café Nerro on my way to the car and bought a panini. Now which was the more extravagant purchase? I also bought a Diet Coke at multiples of the amount one from a multi-pack would have cost me, because none of the cans at home had been in the fridge. That was my most extravagant purchase of the day because I didn't even drink it until I was at home.
That is Rule No.9 on my version of "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Control". Buy the dress, don't buy the sandwich.
Have been good at buying nothing from TKMaxx, although less good at staying out of there. Product wise, my only real slip-up so far has been a Clinique bonus. I'm using the lipstick; the rest is in storage, added to my enormous stash. The key thing is that it's dwindling at a slightly faster pace than it's accumulating. And I'm also thinking more, which is good. Am almost tempted to embrace minimalism, at least in a minimal way. I am minimally tempted. Not very.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Okay, I've Lost Count Now

It's a couple of weeks in and things are going well as far as the 90 day challenge goes. Haven't bought anything except for books. Will be in Dublin on Friday so that will be a harder, but I won't have a lot of shopping time and I have one or two make-up items that need replacing so can get those without breaking the 90 days.
Going to write my own Twelve Rules of Life.
Rule No.1: make your bed before leaving the house.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Day Four:is anyone out there?

There is no way I will keep up this daily blogging once back at work. That's tomorrow, and I think I have never felt this level of dread. I won't go into the reasons here. It's been a good sixteen days, apart from the two ones I was down with norovirus. I won't go into details there either.
Had a largely at home day today. Shopping was for food only. I did go to the shop and bought a fridge-storage thing and a tiny tubberware type container for butter. I've discovered butter dishes are good only for decorative purposes. I bought two massage-balls things that I don't need, but inevitably there'll be a day when I've pain in my shoulder and would have been like "why the fuck didn't I buy those bally things?" Only vaguely frivolous thing I bought was a half-price deodorant. These are supposed to be off-limits, so this is technically a fail. But there were loads of things I didn't buy that I normally would have.
Back to work tomorrow, as I said. Time to get organised.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Day Three & the Going is Reasonable

I need to stop labelling these blog posts by the day: once I get to Day 46 and there's 44 to go, this challenge will seem interminable.
So how did I get on today? I parked in the multi-storey car park, even though I said I wouldn't. I blame the person who swung into the lane beside me as I was going to turn for my parking spot. This was only ever supposed to be an "attempt" anyway, and I'm not sorry. The only thing I'm sorry for is not staying in town for longer.
I went to a different café than the one I'd been planning on going to, and this turned out to be a mistake. I'm not sure how long I spent there but the voice of one very loud woman kept interrupting my train of thought.
Then I returned the boots I bought yesterday. Not 100% sure this was the right decision, but not 100% about the boots either. Then I went to the English Market to do some actual, sustenance shopping and work on my "cook more, waste less" resolution. I bought ingredients: mozzarella, green olives, tapenade, capers, pearled spelt (very expensive), aubergines, fennel and flat-leaf parsley. All this stuff (apart from the spelt) much cheaper than it would have been in the supermarket. I meant to go to Iago's as well, but I forgot. And I didn't buy bread, which I'll need for next week. I can get that in Tesco or Dunnes tomorrow.
Then I went to Home Sense, saying it wasn't TKMaxx even though it is. I had it in my head to buy dividers for the fridge but they didn't have a good selection. In one way, this is the greatest waste of my time ever. I'm a maximiser when it comes to clear plastic fridge dividers. I could have used this time to go to Iago's. I forgot until after I'd gone over to Vibes and Scribes.
This was also a waste of my time as I bought books I'd looked at a million times but hadn't bought. It was a waste to require a seperate expedition to go there. But I wanted to buy some 3 for 12 euro "Animal Farms" as I'm starting it with the third years next week and I wanted to make sure they all had it. That's something else I have to do: type up some introductory notes.
So then I came home and made caponata with some of the ingredients and I have enough for other meals as well, although these'll need to be supplemented. It is the Feast of the Epiphany and I will have to tackle the tree today.
Not too bad going though.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Day Two and Challenge Hits the Rocks

"We set out to be wrecked" as JMBarrie wrote in the opening line of The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Islands. So where did I go this morning, on day two of my 90 day challenge? Mahon Point! Cork's temple to consumerism, the British high street on a spit of land next to the coast and adjacent to the Jack Lynch Tunnel. I didn't need to go there: I had in in my head to buy some cake for the friend I was to visit at lunch, but there were ten other places I could have gone that didn't involve cake. I think Mahon Point was on my mind because I had half a mind to go to the retail park and look for a bag to carry my new work tablet in. In the end I had a look on Amazon and bought one there.  Yes, I do realise about Amazon. I rarely shop there, which is too much.
So then I had time to go to the real Mahon Point. And I thought I was safe. I thought I was just checking if Mantarey had any of their super-practical pants because that'd be a super-practical purchase and totally justifiable. I walked past the Clarins special offer, scoffing at how my past self would have been taken in and still using up the generous free samples four years later.
I bought a dress. It's a red, summer dress that I thought was justifiable under the following reasons:
-it's a near perfect fit
-the fit and the colour are flattering
-it's not too short, being kneelength, as light summer dresses often are
-it was half-price
-most of all I could see myself wearing it in France during the summer and buying this dress was like a step on my "43 before 43" of going, or at least booking a trip, to France.
I'm not sorry, although I'm sorry I went there in the first place, if that makes sense. Then I went to Tesco, bought cookies for my friend, a Crunchie in case lunch was delayed. I wanted to buy two Diet Cokes (need brought on by not putting them in the fridge on time) but they were out of them in Tesco so I had to walk back to Easons. Then I had to pass the Clarks shop and I went in and bought a pair of black ankle boots without trying them on! I know I can return them and I thought they'd be too small. They're not too small, but I'll try them again tomorrow in daylight as I think they're a bit high up the calf and make my legs look even shorter than they are. I should bring them back really; they're not that fabulous and don't give much utility beyond the black ankle boots I already have, which are fine if a little high and not for all-day wear.
I'm going to say the boots don't count as they're footwear and I'll return them. Does the dress mean I have to re-set? I haven't considered this possibility? I suppose I'll add a day on at the end, so the 90 day challenge will now finish on the 5th April. I'm not sure about this though - it could be like the Israeli creche that charged the parents who were late picking up their children. What's supposed to be a deterrent could be a perverse incentive. A day 90 days away doesn't seem any penalty compared to a dress today. And I also stayed out of TKMaxx. So I might be better off absorbing the fuck-up and not applying a penalty.
Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

New Year's Resolutions and 90 Day No-Shopping Challenge

New Year's Resolutions for 2018 are as follows:
-cook more, cooking at least one new recipe a week
-do at least two exercise classes a week
-cut down on waste
-start a masters
-keep blogging and writing
-be less materialistic.

The list is short because I have another list: 43 before 43. I had intended to share that here, but when I went and wrote it was too personal. I do proceed, however, on the general assumption that no-on reads this blog. If you do and you are not a Russian bot, please let me know so I can self-censor a bit more.

I had planned to start the 90 Day No-Shopping Challenge on Monday, but think I'll start early and get it over with early as well. This means I'll be due to finish on the 4th April which seems like an awfully long time away. The point is not just to save money, but also to stop wasting time shopping and accumulating clutter. This is my third year doing the challenge and it is hard, but worthwhile. This year I'm going to blog. Ideally daily, but that'll be unsustainable when I return to work, and besides a usual day at work is a no-shopping day anyway so there'd be nothing to say. The rules are as follows
-no new clothes
-no new make-up or skincare
-no toiletries unless replacements for things I have genuinely run out of.
-no decorative house items
-no lunches in town unless meeting some-one for lunch
-no patronising the school canteen
-attempt to use parking discs rather than multi-storeys or even better get the bus
-staying out of the town TKMaxx. There is also one in the shopping centre where I tend to get my groceries, so staying out of that one's unrealistic. Thankfully, it's a lot smaller.

Things I am still allowed to buy include books (I gave up magazines during the first 90 day no challenge two years ago and don't miss them), trips to hairdressers beauticians etc. flights, tickets to shows, cinema, Diet Cokes in cafés where I write, entries to competitions. The main point is to break away from the vlogger lifestyle where the most interesting thing that happens in a week is buying a new eyeliner. I also have a huge stash of things like shower gel and eye cream. I bought a few items in the January sales like a new work bag (first in eight years), new short brown boots ( I underbuy footwear so may consider making an exception on the 90 day no spend), and hair straighteners (finally got a decent pair and delighted with them).

Today I haven't left the house, except to go to the garage and the washing-line. So it's been an easy no-spend day. Tomorrow may be harder and the weekend will be a challenge. Here goes.


Friday, 22 December 2017

It's Been a While

It's almost a year since I updated this blog. It has fallen by the wayside. Not that I am on the other blog morning, noon and night. It's more that this semi-public sharing doesn't hold the same attraction for me. I must remove all links to this blog from the Twitter account. It worked only when absolutely anonymous.
I said I'd blog about how my New Year's Resolutions worked out. Here we go:
1. Keep the house tidy and clean to a high standard.
There has been much progress in this area, although perfection is still a long way off. There have been times when I have panicked at rare sound of some-one at the door. Clutterbug has been a help and an inspiration.
2. Start an MA in Education.
This was the biggest failure of the year. Beyond an internet search and a couple of phone calls this didn't get done at all. Instead I followed the path of maternity and did two unsuccessful rounds of IUI with donor sperm. Yes. It was crazy. I still wonder what the fuck I was thinking. Much more than the money it cost me a summer, which is a year of my life.
3. Join some kind of exercise class in February.
Yes. Ticked. Joined Women's Fitness. Although the first resolution of 2018 will be to actually go there the requisite twice a week. This has been a success.
4. Blog at least monthly.
I haven't blogged since August. The posts I have written have been very successful. I find this inhibitory, as I'm aware now I have an audience. I think of Carl Hendrick and Greg Ashman reading the blog and I feel it's not good enough. I will though. After every drought so far have come the unexpected rains of inspiration.
5. Continue with current exercise schedule.
This one I have surpassed. Women's Fitness is way more exercise than I was doing this time last year, I feel the better for it. Sometimes I have to tell myself that all successful people make time for exericse. It can be hard. Like today, I didn't make it.
6. Invest more in my life outside work.
In one way, I aced this. I tried to have a baby, FFS. On the other, I have failed dismally.
7. Look at the bright spots.
I'm not sure this is something you can consciously decide to do. So many of our moods come and go, ebb and flow. Lately I have been depressed, yet I woke this morning full of the joys. I felt upbeat, until I didn't. I should have come straight home. I am worried about the twenty euro that one of the kids found and I didn't hand into the office. I went to the office but there was no-one there, and there didn't seem a point after school.  No-one is coming for it at this stage. Yet it could be a lot of money to some child. I resolved to put in the fifth year outing fund. Or I could buy some books and donate them to the library. I think I will do that. I have lost it, but will have to spend it now of course.